Monday, February 05, 2007

Comparison of Rites of Baptism

I recently compiled the following table to compare a translation of the traditional Rite of Baptism (which was all in Latin) with the newly formulated post-conciliar one. I intend it to be a useful reference on how the Rite has changed, which I was unable to find anywhere else.
For Madeleine's Baptism we are hoping to use the Grimshaw translation of the traditional Rite (which uses predominantly English), but it is more likely that we will settle for the new Rite, albeit outside of Mass in the customary manner. We will, however, precede the Baptism with a private Low Mass of thanksgiving.

Comparison of Rites of Baptism


  1. Is it permissable to use the Old Rites in the vernacular?

  2. Our youngest was baptized when she was less than 12 hours old using a rite VERY much like the rite on the left column.

  3. The New Rite doesn't look nearly as fun as the Old Rite Daddy D.

    And the breathing on the child to remove unclean spirits has gone out of the New Rite. Does that mean it was never necessary in the first place?

  4. anonymous: Most of the old Solemn Baptism was in Latin, except a few parts involving the godparents (eg. renunciation of Satan). But in 1965 Archbishop Grimshaw of Birmingham was granted permission to use a vernacular translation of the rite. This version still retained Latin for the most solemn prayers addressing God on behalf of the child and the Church.

    Whether or not this transitional version of the old rite can be used, I am still trying to find out (and probably won't manage to in time for Maddy's baptism).

    Of course, around 1970 the whole Rite was rewritten into what we have now, on the right column. The indult for using traditional rites is extended to the ritual in place in 1962. I doubt transitional rites count, but I do hope they do.

    Joee, I agree, it is a shame that so many aspects of the old rite have been discarded. I want the best possible 'package' for Maddy. The actual baptism itself remains the same - the essence of the sacrament is as efficacious. But it is the other prayers and exorcisms which I find lacking. The Rite seems to be less about removing the bonds of sin, and more about welcoming into the community (in my humble opinion).

    DNK: Can you please tell me more about the rite used for your youngest? It sounds very edifying.

  5. Go for the traditional rite - you won't regret it!!!

  6. Fascinating, Matt!

    Whilst having a clear fondness for traditional Masses, and that being an expression which within Anglicanism brought me to the Catholic Church, I must admit I do see some clear pastoral merits in the new rite.

    Let us know either way!

  7. In my humble opinion, the best gift a family can give their child is entry into the Church and that is given by God through the rites of His church. Be thankful that baptism is available freely in your country and be joyful to be able to worship without fear of the Militia or the secret police. We live in a blessed time in many ways, rejoice for that, baptise your lovely child and stop fretting over how you will ask God to do so. He understands both English, latin and a fair few other languages beside.
    Fr. Sean.

  8. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's exorcist, has called the new rite of baptism "spoiled." If he prefers the Traditional rite, that is good enough for me.

  9. Thank you, Father Sean, for your humble opinion. I never wanted to portray the impression that I was fretting over language and pointless specifics. The fact is, Baptism is Baptism. But if that was all, then I would have just Baptised Maddy myself the moment she was born (which is, of course, entirely legitimate). However, the prayers, exorcisms etc in the solemn rite of Baptism are also presumably important and worth a good thought or two. Finally, if the reformers of the 1960s were as concerned as you at the sacraments "given by God through the rites of His church" then presumably they would have tried to preserve some of these solemnities rather than scrapping them without explanation. As Joee said, either they are necessary or they aren't. I would simply put forward the proposition that proper purification of the child prior to the Baptism itself is a worthwhile exercise, and one deemed by the Church to be worthwhile for some time before the 1960s. Furthermore, my original enquiry was that I would like the rite to be predominantly in English (so all present can follow the ritual) rather than all in Latin, whilst still retaining the solemn character. I think that is a reasonable suggestion, and far from anything ultra-traditionalist or schismatic.

  10. There was an Old Rite Baptism at Blackfen on Sunday. Have a look at Mulier Fortis for a post

  11. Wow - a very good comprison of the old and new. You really begin to see that there is a major difference between both rites of baptism. It looks as if the old one is concerned more with ridding the child of original sin, while the new one is indeed more about "welcome" and "fellowship" into a new community.

    Whilst I agree that it is good for people to follow the baptism rite, we have to think on whose benefit is this primarily done for - Maddys or the congregation? I would have thought Maddy is the correct answer.

    So IMHO go with what YOU think is best for Maddy. The congregation will be edified even if the whole thing was in Latin and couldn't understand a thing, because the grace of God works primarily not in hearing but in seeing what is done.

    Rant over xxx ;-)

  12. Fr Sean,

    I think you're being very harsh on Matt.

    The basic point of his post is to highlight that there are significant differences between the Old and New Rites of baptism as the title suggests, not to doubt the validity of either.

    Moreover there are two Rites - Old and New - which Matt can choose from for the baptism of his daughter. It isn't enough to tell a father to shut up and put up with whatever there is, as he lovingly wants what is best for his baby - something I feel is quite amirable in a young person!

    Furthermore, what shines through on Matt's blog is precisely how joyful Matt is to be a new father and a Catholic.

    I feel it would be unfair to fail to appreciate that Matt and his family are on the recieving end of the 1960s liturgical changes - not causing further problems. Thus his concerns are genuine and without a doubt out of love.


  13. I am genuinely sorry if anyone thought my answer was harsh. It is, however, the teaching of our church. That said, it was not meant to come over as harsh. The Church does, of course, accept the validity of Anglican, Methodist baptisms, as well as mosy churches which subscribe to a Trinitarian Theology, therefore, a Methodist becoming a Roman Catholic would not necessarily have to be rebaptised. All this illuminates the omnipresence of God in the rites of Christian worship. Coming from that, is certainly an interesting academic debate about the relative merits of different rites. The rite above is part of what are generally now called the interim rites, which some people would suggest are closer to the Novus Ordo rites which the Council (and the Pope) hoped for. I have a fascinating collection of missals from this interim, fast moving time, promulgated for various nations, showing a fascinating development in the Mass and a rite which has much of the components of the Tridentine which people miss as well as the clear advances which the Novus Ordo gave. Alas, they are all now no longer authorised for use which is the case for your above rite.

    As nothing more than an exercise in curial directive theology, It would be interesting (nothing more!) to consider the question of a male Anglican Priest of Forward in Faith (who are they? , my neighbouring church is run, extraordinarily well by one, and look at the website of St Silas Kentish Town), conducting the above interim Baptism for a child. It opens up many interesting avenues of thought, one of which has led to a uniate church in the USA, fully RC and under the jusisdiction of the local RC ordinary) but using the Anglican Rites of Mass. This has interesting parallels with Old Rite communities in Europe. Anyway, it's been keeping my brain chugging over for some time.

    Anyway, whatever you do, have a Blessed day and be assured of my prayers.

    Fr Sean.

  14. Sorry for no response; I have been under the weather. We used the Old Latin Rite, and I will get the specific reference from our Pastor.

    You will be in our prayers

  15. Father Sean; I think you have confused the issue somewhat. The above 'traditional rite' which I have compared with the new rite is merely a translation from my 1954 St. Andrew's Missal. It is not a rite in itself, and certainly not an 'interim rite'. The Latin text itself is the Old Rite, and any interim use was a direct translation of this. I understand that the Grimshaw translation was not the only occasion of this, and many other countries had their own translation.

    It is the same as comparing, say, the modern Roman Rite of Mass with a translation of the traditional Tridentine Rite for interest only (see link). The other option would be to compare the original Latin texts. But alas, that is above my comprehension, and not quite as accessible for my readers!

  16. Dear Matt,
    Then my apologies. It reads differently to the translation in my book. This is not uncommon, however.

    To clarify, the 'interim rite' is an academic term for the books produced under Bugnini during the second council which were, however superceded by what we now know as the Novus Ordo. They are fascinating books, particularly the Missals, and well worth looking at if you can ever get your hands on a copy. They give some idea of the mind of the Pope and the council as to how they saw their liturgy being re-shaped. I also have a copy of the Seraphic (pertaining to the orders of the Franciscans) Missal from the same period, which has fascinating rites for Requiem Masses. This is a whole area of modern liturgical scholarship which is oft overlooked, due to the rarity of the texts themselves but it is an area which any new liturgical movement would do well to study.

    I wish you well in your future career and I hope that you will have the gift of seeing how God answers your prayers.

    Fr. Sean.

  17. I have a copy of the Missal promulgated in 1965 for Malaya when the Council was in session, which is basically the English translation of the Latin which was used up until that point.

    It's just the Old Mass with the prayers at the foot of the altar removed and I think it's more in tune to what the Council intended that the subsequent Novus Ordo.

  18. Interestingly enough, Andrew, most Interim Missals leave the prayers at the foot of the altar in. There are too many details to list and I do not have a spare two days to copy it out, but I wonder if there is an on line version anywhere?
    Fr. Sean.

  19. For a detailed look at the 1965 and 1967 interim rites and the decisions behind each of the changes, check out: The Mass of Vatican II


    Personally, I like these transition rites and if the final 1970 rite never came out, I don't think there would be that much of an us-vs-them, trads-vs-mods polarization.

    Maybe the reform-the-reform crowd should look at these interim rites again and give it a nudge.

    You can still get hardcopies of the interim rite in the form of the "St. Joseph Children's Missal" from Neumann Press or Catholic Book Publishing Co. (Imp. 1959)

    I know Eclessia Dei allows for use of the 1962 liturgy (with bishop's permission), but what if I would like to use the 1965 liturgy? What if I find a really ancient (pre-Tridentine) missal?

    I'm interested because I live in the Philippines and I noticed that the "First Mass in the Philippines" was celebrated on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1521 (Julian/Gregorian? not sure.) That's 24 years before Trent, so what on Earth was Ferdinand Magellan's chaplain using? Was it some Spanish or Portugese variant?

    Who, what, where, etc. do I get permission to use the interim or pre-tridentine liturgies? There was some scholar discovering an old medieval missal and having the liturgy performed by a priest (available on youtube somewhere.)

    As for the your kid's baptism, congrats. It's the "I baptise you in the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit" which really matters. All else is variable.

    How else would Saint Athanasius have gotten in such hot water with the Patriarch of Alexandria? (No pun intended.)



  20. Dear Francis,
    I am afraid the Interim Rites are illegal and will not be promulgated again. However, the point you raise about pre trent missals is interesting. Basically, there was not one regularised rite of Mass, but Trent and later councils produced standardised liturgy, forbidding the use of the previous, except in certain cases. Even now, there is the Ambrosian rite, the Dominican rite, etc, but they are only to be practised by people to whom they pertain (in Milan, or Dominicans etc). A Milanese priest could use the Ambrosian Rite in New Jersey, say, or Cornwall, if he ministered to a flock of ex-pat Milanese.

    There is very little chance of any older forms of Mass, such as the one you mention, being allowed anymore, even if not specifically forbidden, they are all de facto forbidden by the act of replacement. You could appeal if you fely a particular parochial need, but you may as well stand in a bucket and try to pick it up, youre not going to get anywhere. There is a saying in the church, is there not, 'love what you are taught, even when you do not like it, as it comes from God.
    Fr Sean.

  21. I'm not to sure about the interim rites being illegal. I know they were superceded and all by the 1970 edition, but we have a new 2002 edition in the works and Liturgica Authenticam and a couple of other directives pushing things along. Check out the New Liturgical Movement blog.


    I think I saw an Ambrosian liturgy being conducted in the US somewhere.

    Plus... I live in the Philippines, the Popes have been real kind to us over the centuries and we have a ton of dispensations that may let us get by, so I'm not seeing impossibilities that you might encounter in the US or elsewhere. We have always been able to appeal directly to the Popes and they've always granted what we've asked.

    I've kinda noticed that all the screaming on "liturgical novelties" seems to be primarily with the English translation.

    The German and Spanish and French and other Romance languages don't have that problem and more direct translations from the Latin official texts.

    For example, where the Latin says "Et cum spíritu tuo," everyone else says "And with thy Spirit." It's only the English who say "And also with you." Sadly, the vernacular liturgies here in the Philippines suffer the same thing primarily because the translators here were working from the 1970 ICEL English, rather than directly from the Latin.

    Here is a bit more about my country. One of the reasons the 1970 liturgy made so much headway (as compared to the Tridentine) in my country is that most people here weren't that educated (even today, you have a bit of a feudal thing going on here.)

    You had the Tridentine liturgy in Latin, sure but nobody understood a darned thing. Missals were Latin/Spanish and a premium, costing about three months wages and only a tiny minority was literate (even priests) in Spanish, much less Latin. It was only after the American occupation that public instruction had enough funds to provide accomplish what the Spanish and Filipinos had been planning for centuries.

    Unfortunately, the language was now English and took time to sink in. Most Missals remained Latin/Spanish. We only started printing our own Latin/English missals in the 1950/60's just in time for the printing to be obsolete by the revisions of 1962, 1965, 1967, and 1970.

    Remember that call to "pray the mass, not pray at mass" ? Sorry. Didn't work here. Everyone was just in the seats praying the Rosary. "Just pray along with the server?" Hah. Sorry, Mamma never learned me gibberish. Sing Gregorian? Sorry. That's the cantor's job. All we have to do is sit quietly and not bug the participants.

    So all the shouting matches in the West about ultratraditional integrists, heretical modernists, protestantized masses, the dreaded novus ordo, the obsolete tridentine.... well, it just goes... woosh... over our heads.

    I attended a tridentine indult mass last year (my first), and less than a quarter had a missal or leaflet. For most, it was just Rosary time.

    Even now, we might have maybe one or two Latin 1970 liturgy in a year. And that's the entire country. All we know is, we didn't have what was needed to follow the tridentine liturgy and now, with the 1970, we can.

    It's just liturgical enthisiasts like me that pay attention to the nuts and bolts...

    Joke: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

    You can negotiate with the terrorist.

    So when the vernacular was promulgated, it was a big hit. The Protestants had been coming in since 1901 and were making inroads since the average Filipino had never been requested to do more than sincerely love the church. Apologetics? What was that. Now, we're getting off our butts and learning to defend the church we love.

    Finally, not only could the person in the pews understand fully what was being said, but he could finally participate fully. That took the wind out of the Protestant missionaries whose main claim was that the Catholic Priests were keeping things hidden, how else was it that nobody could refute their "claims?"

    The 1970 liturgy brought a boost to our Catholics. We started off with 95% Catholic with the Spanish, then down to 70% with the coming of the American Protestants, and now with the 1970 liturgy, we're at 85%-87% and rising.

    We don't have the same problems facing the West, parishes closing down, disappearing congregations, etc.

    Here in the Philippines, you have up to ten scheduled Masses a day. They are always packed, standing room-only. Finished a night out clubbing? You can catch the 3AM Mass at the cathedral or bishop's palace before hitting the sack.

    Our problem seems to be that we can't build churches fast enough (our construction industry is in a slump, building materials are too expensive and most are being exported to China). So we have to send priests to just about any place that can accomodate a crowd. Theatres, stadiums, public parks, roof decks. Where else can you find marian shrines at the street corner, or perpetual adoration chapels at every mall?

    Sure, we have "separation of church and state," but that just means public taxes don't pay the priests, and priests don't pay taxes. That's it. (Not like the US.)

    Despite all these blessings, I'd like to see our liturgies to be more in union with Roman quality control standards. No half-assed translations, everyone standing, kneeling, sitting at the same time at the same point in the mass, and just maybe... some interest in education so we can get a little Latin and Greek per week, maybe even Gregorian chant.

    We've already done the ground work for "quantity" so now, let's work on "quality."

    We're slowly sanctifying the nation, but its a house to house battle. Literally. Our exorcists are practically on call 24-hours a day. It's just very recently that people are starting to get the idea that there are no other spirit forces except angels and demons, and angels sure don't act like what we are seeing here.

    On education... things are a little slow. We have the same textbook politics like everywhere else. It will take time, but we're slowly getting the idea that being Catholic isn't just because Mom and Dad and the neighbors are, you have to receive some medium of understanding. We're importing good textbooks from the US, but they're just too expensive for most and the publishing companies aren't too keen on giving local lisences since we think IP laws are just suggestions.

    John Paul II told us he expected a lot of missionaries to come from the us and we're doing our best to churn out as many as we can. If Europe and the West is to be retaken, it will be Filipinos leading the way. (Just got to get them a bit more ready for the Protestant gotcha questions and how to deal with the sophisticated God don't matter crowd.)

  22. TS Education Holdings - yes, we all believe that whitewash you have just made about the Philipines. I mean, the new liturgy has just done wonders for the Philipines that things like this happen:

    Back to the drawing board for you my friend.

  23. Some whitewash. I just pointed out that 85-87% of the total population is Catholic. The catalyst comes from the propagation of the Mass in the vernacular. 12,000,000 NEW Catholics in 30 years. Can you say the same for your country? You can't even get your birthrates up or criminalize abortion. We, on the other hand, don't have to suck up to Mohammedans demanding welfare or worry about secularists poo-poohing on nativity scenes.

    So what if Protestants are making some inroads? It's the Pope's job to worry about each indivdual. For him, one apostate is one too many.

    For the rest of us, it's like Napoleon invading Russia. Sure, he moved in and took large swathes of land. But he couldn't keep it. And just as Russia reclaimed all its lands back, most Protestants revert back to Catholicism in the end, anyway.

    There is an SSPX church here in the capital and guess what one of their more annoying problem is? Squatters and bums stealing missals so they can feed the Latin words (in particular the red rubrics) to their chickens so it will win at the Sunday cockfight.

    It's gotten so bad that there has even been some discussion about offering a vernacular translation so the uneducated stop attributing magic powers to the Mass. Not exactly the flowering of the Holy Eucharist as promised by trads, eh?

    Also, its funny how none of the trads here seem to be doing any sort of preaching to the pagan tribes. In fact, they seem to be doing the same thing the Protestants are doing: doing their best to try and convert Catholics to join their sect, which they consider to be the One True Church.

    You might want to talk to actual Filipinos before dismissing an entire nation, a parochial attitude formed, mind you, on the basis of a single news article from a newspaper you don't subscribe to.

  24. Overall the old rite seems far mroe reverant, and far mroe beutiful. It also seems ot irect our attention t God, not "The CHristain COmmunity" and is les banal.

    I saw only one area in which the NEw Rite was an improvement.

    That is, when it gave a longer explanaiton of he Faith.

    Listed below.

    P. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

    Had this been aded to lenghen the "Dost thou beleive in God, and his only son, who was born, and who suffered?" then I doubt the rite woudl have suffered.Its an improvement asit is more detaield.

    The rest o the new rite is banal and uninpsired,a nd lakcs nay real theological merit or deapth.


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